He’s my editor, he’s my author, he’s my editor: A retraction reveals a tangled web
The June 2012 issue of Current Opinion in Critical Care has a retraction that might have been a rather mundane case of plagiarism but for the remarkably intertwined relationships of the authors of the publications involved.
Here’s the notice, which doesn’t attempt to broach the conflicts of interest (we can hardly blame them, as you’ll see):
The Journal retracts the article ‘Pulmonary/Renal Interaction’ by Ricci and Ronco . Significant similarities were found between the [Zaccaria] Ricci and [Claudio] Ronco article and an article by Ko et al in Blood Purification. The Journal recognises that Ricci and Ronco cited the Ko et al paper and notes the authors’ apologies for submitting the wrong version of their article.
The Ricci and Ronco paper has been cited nine times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, while the Ko et al has been cited 13.
We’re intrigued by the bit about submission of “the wrong version” of the manuscript. Wouldn’t that have been something that the authors might have picked up during the review/rewriting process? Oh, and did we mention the name of Blood Purification’s editor? That would be Claudio Ronco, author of the retracted paper in COCC, whose co-author, Ricci, sits on the journal’s editorial board. Ronco also is on the editorial board of, wait for it, COCC.
and is listed as an associate editor of … Blood Purification.(Apologies to our readers for adding even more confusion to an already confused situation!)
For those keeping score at home: The editors of a journal invite two of their own editorial board members (one of whom edits a marginally competing journal) to write a review article which turns out to plagiarize from a paper in the editor’s own journal! Now, if anyone should know the rules of the game here, it’s Ronco.
Hat tip: Clare Francis